I am considering hiking 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine with my son. He would be 7 at the time. My biggest concern as we are thinking about this are the river fords since some of them can come up to the waist of adults. I think some of the fords would be swims for him (which I am not comfortable with). Can the fords in the 100 Mile Wilderness be bypassed?


I don't think you need to bypass them at all. You didn't say what time of year you'd be going, but in the later summer/fall, they are not nearly that deep.

Also, at any time of year you could easily carry your pack(s) across, then go back and piggy-back your son with a 2nd trip. The first trip would also give you a feel for how rough the crossing would be.

In June 2015 I did the 100 Mile Wilderness (along with the whole AT south bound). Even at that time, with the rivers running hard and sometimes waist deep, it would be quite reasonable to cross in the manner I described.

  • You may be right about the stream volumes in late summer. I have no idea how much they decrease. I am pretty sure piggy backing someone is NOT a safe option. If you slip with a pack, you can ditch it. If I slip with a child on my back I could injure him in the fall and I do not see how I could recover and keep the child safe.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 17 '16 at 22:36
  • 3
    They decrease a lot. You can look it up on via USGS Streamflow data if you want. Or call one of the hostels in the area (Shaw's in Monson or the Appalachian Trail Lodge in Millinocket), they will know at the time you are going. As for the risk factor - that's your opinion. We happen to disagree :) And that's OK! We each get to set what we consider too risky. If the stream turns out to be knee deep, the kid can walk holding your hand. If it turns out to be deeper, practice in a pool - what happens if you tip over? I bet nothing even vaguely catastrophic. But, obviously... your call!
    – Ryley
    Feb 17 '16 at 23:14

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